The most feared man on the UFC roster laid out his measured but confident prediction for his upcoming UFC 220 heavyweight championship showdown with Stipe Miocic.
Francis Ngannou’s rise to the very top of the heavyweight pile has been among the most insane ascents we’ve seen in some time in this sport. Homeless just under five years ago, Ngannou took up the sport of MMA when options appeared to be limited and now, in just one week, he will face off against Stipe Miocic for the most coveted prize in the sport, the UFC heavyweight championship of the world.
It’s been made abundantly clear at this point that Ngannou’s power is truly something special and while it is Stipe who comes into this matchup with the more impressive string of knockout wins – on paper, at least – there are few who doubt who holds the advantage in the wild exchanges.
Miocic is on the cusp of achieving his own special piece of history as he attempts to become the first UFC heavyweight to defend the title on three consecutive occasions, but in Ngannou’s eyes according to his appearance on the UFC 220 media conference call, he just can’t afford Miocic any longer than two rounds when the octagon doors close.
“I’ve never been in that level but I always train for that level. When I go to my training camp, I train my conditioning, everything, I prepare [for] a regular fight, for the regular round fight.
“Even the fight against Alistair Overeem, I was already prepared for five rounds because I knew I was going to have Stipe after that.
“That is the problem because people always want to believe what they see.
“I think it’s going to be a long time before they really see that because on Jan. 20 I don’t see myself going [to the] third round, fourth round. No, I’m not going to do that.
“I’m just going to finish Stipe in under two rounds.”
It’s a restrained but ultimately confident prediction from the challenger but when you consider what he managed to do to the veteran Alistair Overeem at UFC 218, it’s hard to write his chances off – especially over the scheduled five rounds.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena